Although in recent years content marketing has become an increasingly important tool in the digital arena, the concept is by no means a new one.
As far back as 1895, agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere was disseminating useful information to their buyers in the form of a magazine. Packed with information on the latest farming technology and tips on how to run a more profitable farm, The Furrow served to provide a communication between the business and its customers.
The purpose of the magazine was no to sell products, at least not short-term, but to build authority in the agricultural sector, whilst also ensuring brand recognition and loyalty from farmers. So, with content marketing having been around for at least 118 years, why has it taken so long for the digital world to take notice?
Well, the truth is that content marketing has been used by some for many years as an integral part of their digital strategy. However, the majority of businesses have chosen to focus their online marketing efforts mainly on SEO. Yet with every update that Google make to their algorithm, there is a dawning realisation that SEO is not a viable standalone solution – an issue I have addressed recently.
Suddenly, businesses that had enjoyed strong levels of traffic through good search engine rankings are looking for additional ways to drive visitors, with content marketing having a large role to play in achieving this goal.
The content that you use to market your business can come in a variety of forms, such as advertorials, email newsletters, blogs, webinars and videos. A recent example of some content marketing that 9xb has been involved in is for our client Paper Themes.
Working alongside the bespoke wedding stationers, we surveyed 500 brides and grooms that are either already married, or who are due to get married soon. In order to ensure the desired number of responses the survey was incentivised, with every person that completed it receiving a £20 voucher to spend on the Paper Themes website.
Whilst this represented significant investment by Paper Themes, the data gathered provides us with a huge number of content marketing opportunities moving forwards. Although we are still in the early stages of harvesting the data, we have already achieved substantial coverage, with press releases published in English national newspapers through to the Yahoo News website in India. In addition to further press releases, we are also working on a number of other content marketing projects, including info graphics, blog posts and industry specific magazine editorials.
Whilst I have used a B2C example to demonstrate the ways in which content marketing can be harnessed to improve a brand’s reach and customer loyalty, it can also be effective for companies that operate in the B2B sector. In such a setting the content produced will have to be more involved, with e-books, white papers and data sheets being typical examples.
Whether your business is B2C or B2B, the secret of content marketing is to identify interesting news or data that belongs to you, decide on the most appropriate medium to communicate it and then deliver it to your target audience.
If you are new to content marketing then you may initially struggle to see exactly what data you can use to create this content. Yet every business will have data of some kind that can be used to generate interesting content, whether it is how a recent heat wave has impacted on sales figures, to which colour products sell best during the winter months.
When looking for inspiration for you content ideas, it can be a wise move to include members from every level of the business, as some of them may have access to stories or information that you are not aware of.
If you have already given this a try and are still struggling to find the right angle, it might be the right time to get in touch with 9xb and let our marketing team chew over some ideas with you.